What the critics would have thought of the Grove's House Play 'Hidden Meanings' this week is anyone's guess, but judging by the audience's reaction to the first night, the cast got it right and tickled the collective ribs of the spectators very successfully indeed.
Having a short duration (this lasted only 40 minutes) can be a mixed blessing; you have to take hold of the audience and not let them go; and the 6th form players did just that, as each character tried to lay claim to the murder of Charles Meaning - whose body remained hidden in a cupboard on stage for the whole duration. A short film to lead into the live action paved the way for an entertaining evening.
James Halliday and Alex Moore complemented each other perfectly as the Holmes and Watson re-enactors, living out their hobby through real life – and death.
Dressing up in drag for a role takes courage, or foolishness, or a bit of both; Sam Ansloos, James Moulson, Charles Kidson and Oliver Brown relished their roles and played them with gusto. They clearly enjoyed themselves and the audience was happy to enjoy their wonderfully funny pastiches as (respectively) 'wronged' woman, char-lady, adulteress and pregnant mistress. (Don’t ask – go and see!)
Ben Gould's detective with his 'geographically extensive' accent (Birmingham meets Bangladesh, via Bradford) gave Russell Crowe's Robin Hood a run for its money, but the audience again was content to go with it and simply enjoy his comic turn. Grace James from Shrewsbury High School provided pace, poise and projection.
Congrats to director Jack Hodges, and his crew. Behind the scenes, Mr. Fitzgerald, Mrs. Bovill, Mrs. Leach and Mr. Cowper provided the trouble-shooting skills needed for a successful production.
'Hidden Meanings' is the play that The Grove boys performed on the 28th February. It was a much anticipated performance with whispers of top comedy and multiple boys in drag - a show not to be missed! The play followed two men who enjoyed role-playing Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson in their spare time, played brilliantly by James Halliday and Alex Moore. Ironically, they were trying to solve a mystery outside their fantasy: who killed Charles Meaning?
The play was directed by the very talented Jack Hodges whose excellent vision moulded the play into a successful comedy.He also managed to play an extremely realistic dead man. The cosy set gave the play a comforting feel but the highlight of the play has to be the brave boys who agreed to dress up as women. Both Charlie Kidson and Sam Ansloos stood out as worringly realistic women; obviously many hours went into perfecting their look, along with Ollie Brown and James Moulson who also gave smashing performances with high comedic value. The story line followed these characters who each thought they had killed Charles Meaning. The timing of the performance was spot on, leaving the audience wanting more. Although the ending may have been a little predictable, it did not take away from the fine acting of these young gentlemen.
Overall, the play was a delight to watch, with each character contributing to its success and, in my opinion, definitely the funniest play so far!
Gaby Byrne (EDH LVI)